Since the movie's release last year, Alita: Battle Angel has amassed quite the following, with fans continuing to campaign for a sequel to the steampunk action sci-fi. Director Robert Rodriguez has recently been discussing the extensive pitch process that was undertaken to the get the first Alita made, laying out the high stakes game he played with producer James Cameron on his side.
"I know for Alita, it was the first time I had to do something in that scale and scope. Usually, I had a handful of drawings I made myself, or something that I'd edited myself or animated; and would take that and tell them basically what it is and we'd be off and going. This was going to be a huge financial commitment. So I went in, Jim [Cameron] and I said, 'We're gonna synchronize our watches, and take the hill!' I was like, 'Wow.' I had tons of art that he had done back in 2005 for Alita that I put up around the room. I had to actually write myself a whole script that I could go through, that was a synopsis of the movie, so they could hear the whole thing and feel the heart of the film and feel the reason why to do it. So it was a good 45 minute talk I had."
According to Robert Rodriguez, the process was vastly different to his prior experiences, wherein he had been working on much smaller, original projects as opposed to big franchise filmmaking. The studio, 20th Century Fox, had been holding on to the rights to Alita: Battle Angel for some time, meaning that everything relied on Rodriguez's pitch being greenlit. The director explained further why the pitch was so crucial, as well as revealing details regarding his personal pitching process.
"Walk 'em through the movie, make them feel what the movie is, know what the story is, really know that this character is gonna be the thing people latch onto, before they commit the money. Because it's a huge commitment now, between marketing, and releasing. It's just incredible how much they have to spend, and they have to spend wisely. It's not like the old days at all. ... I really love pitching. When you do the full presentation, with the art, that's a whole thing. With Alita, they owned Alita, so you can't just go across the street and sell it to somebody else."
Alita: Battle Angel follows Alita, a battle cyborg who awakens with no memory of who she is in a future world she does not recognize. She is taken in by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate doctor who realizes that somewhere in this abandoned cyborg shell is the heart and soul of a young woman with an extraordinary past. Alita then sets out to learn about her past and find her true identity. The movie ends on a cliffhanger, with Alita vowing to take the fight to the world's oppressors. This teasing ending is one of the many reasons that fans are so desperate to see an Alita sequel come to light.
Despite the movie not lighting up the box office, Rodriguez's hard work was not all in vain, as in the time since, fans (dubbed the Alita Army) have been determined to keep up the fight for the franchise and have so far produced a vocal, ongoing social media campaign. The group has flown a banner stating their desire for Alita: Battle Angel 2 over this year's Academy Awards ceremony and have erected several billboards in Los Angeles. This comes to us from Collider.